Electrician is using a digital meter to measure the voltage at the circuit breaker control cabinet on the wall.

When talking about power and electricity, the terms watts and amps frequently turn up as part of the conversation. Understanding what each of these terms means is key to understanding how electricity is measured and consumed by different elements of your home or business. Here is a brief guide to everything you need to know about the differences between a watt and an amp.

What Is an Amp?

An amp, or amperage, references the quantity of current being drawn through a particular power source. Amps can be measured using an ammeter connected to a circuit to measure the flow of electricity. Amperage is often confused with voltage, which is the force of the flow of energy in a power source. Combining amps and volts gives you the wattage of an electronic device.

What Is a Watt?

A watt, or wattage, is a comprehensive measurement of power involving the voltage and the amperage of a particular device. Watts can be measured using a wattmeter or calculated using a basic equation that takes into account the amps and volts in play. While the term amps is exclusive to electricity, watts can also be used to describe other types of power output, such as the power output of a horsepower engine.

How Are the Terms Related?

Knowing the relationship between watts and amps can help you calculate how much power will be consumed by certain devices, appliances, and lighting fixtures. Multiplying the drawn amount of current in amps by the voltage of the electricity source gives you the amount of power drawn in watts. For instance, a device drawing 4 amps of current through a 12-volt source is consuming 48 watts of power.

In Tampa, FL, the standard voltage for electrical outlets is 120V, but in other parts of the world, the standard voltage for outlets is 220V. An electrical device rated for a higher wattage can drain more energy per minute than a device rated for a lower wattage. The higher power usage can have a dramatic effect on the amount of your electric bill, leading some people to choose lower-rated appliances to save money and energy.

Contact the Electrical Experts

Whether you use a traditional electrical system or take advantage of Tampa’s nearly 250 days of sunshine with a solar system, amps and watts are two important terms to know when troubleshooting electrical issues at your home or business. In simple terms, amps refer to the amount of electrical energy being supplied, while watts are the overall working capacity of the supplied energy. If you would like more information about energy usage in your home or business, the qualified electricians at Mr. Electric are available to answer all of your questions.

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